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Old 09-07-2007, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Orlando
7 posts, read 97,560 times
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Does anyone know what is happening here? We love this neighborhood (would like to live there someday) and what we really appreciate most are the bungalow and cottage-style houses that have been there for years and years. So quaint, so old-Florida. Big trees, sidewalks, pergolas, arbors, flowers, window boxes, gingerbread. We drive through the streets admiring the charm, and then all of a sudden a huge behemoth of new construction looms up over everything, a Spanish-or Tuscan-style (is anyone else sick of this style???) house that, to us, is ruining the integrity of the neighborhood. Ick! Are the people who have lived and maintained their older homes appalled? Isn't there any kind of review board or historic preservation organization who can keep this from happening? I guess it doesn't matter as long as the builder/developers can keep making money.....
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Old 09-07-2007, 05:51 PM
 
13,864 posts, read 27,213,379 times
Reputation: 15020
Quote:
Originally Posted by marybs View Post
Does anyone know what is happening here? We love this neighborhood (would like to live there someday) and what we really appreciate most are the bungalow and cottage-style houses that have been there for years and years. So quaint, so old-Florida. Big trees, sidewalks, pergolas, arbors, flowers, window boxes, gingerbread. We drive through the streets admiring the charm, and then all of a sudden a huge behemoth of new construction looms up over everything, a Spanish-or Tuscan-style (is anyone else sick of this style???) house that, to us, is ruining the integrity of the neighborhood. Ick! Are the people who have lived and maintained their older homes appalled? Isn't there any kind of review board or historic preservation organization who can keep this from happening? I guess it doesn't matter as long as the builder/developers can keep making money.....
What you just mentioned here is just one of the MANY things I hated about this place. If you would look at a book of the beautiful buildings that used to be here a few decades ago that were knocked down you would cry. Not to mention the tree canopy. They ruined my old neighborhood. Disgusting. Yes, we were appalled, and we moved.

We live in a town now where the historic neighborhoods are fiercely protected. It's beautiful here, and very "old Florida" - we love it. Thank heaven they restored our downtown, and all the old charming buildings are intact, with rules in place to keep the scale of the town and preserve the architectural integrity of the area.
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Old 09-07-2007, 09:16 PM
 
99 posts, read 364,934 times
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Originally Posted by JimKing View Post
Ahhh, you simplified the situation beautifully.

People need to throw away appraisals and what their neighbors got for their houses. Eventually housing prices will return to 2.5-3 times depending on the borrowers other debts. And lenders they will require 20% down.

Housing prices are so far off the mark in most places it is ridiculous. That investor that wants to buy for 70% is most likely paying too much.
I have seen this sentiment posted before, so I am only quoting your post as an example. I really don't understand where this train of thought comes from - what makes you think the prices "must" come down everywhere? "Decent" homes (ie, suburban areas vs run-down areas, slums, severe flood zones, etc) have been well over 2.5-3 times the "average" income for decades in our area (No Jersey). Some California areas had lenders offering 100-yr mortgages way back in the eighties in order to make homes "affordable" at the time. Market prices are controlled by supply and demand, and certain amenities (eg, coastal properties, desirable weather conditions, concentrated cultural exposure, unusual scenic areas, etc) will always be more desirable (statistically speaking).

There is an ebb and tide to everything, and there is no question that there was a frenzied run-up in multiple RE markets. There is also no question that corrections will occur, however IMO an expectation of an across-the-board long term decline in prices to the levels you mention is unrealistic. Prices began pulling away with the increase in two-income families, and the ratios continued to erode with increasing reliance on the theory of "paying back with cheaper dollars", large gains from prior price run-ups, stock market gains poured in to real estate and "creative" financing products. Just as one cannot put a genie back in a bottle, the avg home buyer will not forgo the "American dream" long enough to force a return to overall prices that low, especially in the most desirable areas.
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Old 09-08-2007, 06:41 AM
 
960 posts, read 1,165,581 times
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Originally Posted by kdzgon View Post
Just as one cannot put a genie back in a bottle, the avg home buyer will not forgo the "American dream" long enough to force a return to overall prices that low, especially in the most desirable areas.
The average homebuyer in our immediate area of Sarasota County makes less than $40K a year.

The average price of a home in our area would have to be around $120K for the average homebuyer.

The average homebuyer here will forgo the "American Dream" because the reality is they cannot afford it.

So I disagree with your insistance that the average homebuyer will not be able to forgo owning a house.

They have had to over the last 5 years in our area.
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Old 09-08-2007, 11:24 AM
 
36 posts, read 119,939 times
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Originally Posted by kdzgon View Post
I have seen this sentiment posted before, so I am only quoting your post as an example. I really don't understand where this train of thought comes from - what makes you think the prices "must" come down everywhere? "Decent" homes (ie, suburban areas vs run-down areas, slums, severe flood zones, etc) have been well over 2.5-3 times the "average" income for decades in our area (No Jersey). Some California areas had lenders offering 100-yr mortgages way back in the eighties in order to make homes "affordable" at the time. Market prices are controlled by supply and demand, and certain amenities (eg, coastal properties, desirable weather conditions, concentrated cultural exposure, unusual scenic areas, etc) will always be more desirable (statistically speaking).

There is an ebb and tide to everything, and there is no question that there was a frenzied run-up in multiple RE markets. There is also no question that corrections will occur, however IMO an expectation of an across-the-board long term decline in prices to the levels you mention is unrealistic. Prices began pulling away with the increase in two-income families, and the ratios continued to erode with increasing reliance on the theory of "paying back with cheaper dollars", large gains from prior price run-ups, stock market gains poured in to real estate and "creative" financing products. Just as one cannot put a genie back in a bottle, the avg home buyer will not forgo the "American dream" long enough to force a return to overall prices that low, especially in the most desirable areas.
Nicely said! Finally a voice of reason
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Old 09-09-2007, 04:26 PM
 
99 posts, read 364,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbondated View Post
The average homebuyer in our immediate area of Sarasota County makes less than $40K a year.

The average price of a home in our area would have to be around $120K for the average homebuyer.

The average homebuyer here will forgo the "American Dream" because the reality is they cannot afford it.

So I disagree with your insistance that the average homebuyer will not be able to forgo owning a house.

They have had to over the last 5 years in our area.
I guess we might disagree on some definitions, such as an "average buyer". However, the home prices in your area did not run up so high because no one was buying. And, somehow I have to believe that people of nearly all income levels have been buying homes in the last 5 years. There is no question that foreclosures are up and now are even at record levels due to what was "easy (mtg) money", although there are more reasons than just the mtg industry fiasco. Florida has traditionally been a state with many transplanted homeowners from other states, but not all of them are retirees, either. Neither (nor both) fact(s) alone explain the run up in prices.

I would agree that families with a true total household income of $40,000 per year with less than stellar credit will find it difficult if not impossible to purchase a home in many areas of SW Fl for the immediate future without some sort of assistance (family help, special programs, low- to mid-income housing, etc). However, that has been the situation in my area for years, but the result has NOT been a drop in prices (in fact, the NE saw 6% gains even in the soft market.) Instead, certain incomes rent forever rather than purchase a home should they choose to remain in the area. Minimum wage in NJ was already increased to over $7; now, federal wages are slated to follow. The difference is, the home we purchased in Fl is approx one-half the cost of a comparable home in my area. Once that min wage kicks in in Fl, many Floridians will arguably be better off than NJ residents in similar entry-level occupations, but I'll bet home prices still don't drop in NJ.

We are mostly a society that wants what we want, when we want it. Many potential first-time home buyers grew up in a booming economy and had little to no experience with the concept of saving first, buying later, so the idea that they should start out small (and more affordable, should circumstances change) is not a core concept. That booming economy also resulted in some significant stock market gains for many an "average" person (as opposed to "wealthy"). Couple that with relatively easy money (when was the last time lenders routinely required 20% down, especially for a first-time buyer?) and you have a scenario where many a buyer was willing to sign on the dotted line for homes priced well above prices 2 - 2 1/2 times salary. If there are sufficient buyers willing to make that stretch, it pulls up market prices across the board. Once that happens, absent extreme extenuating circumstances (main employer shuts down, more widespread area-wide prolonged economic downturn, etc) prices rarely if ever return to prior levels.

Some of the hardest-hit areas in Florida have already seen an influx of commercial development. That tells me that much of the change is well on its way - development may slow, but so many large businesses are not investing on a whim. Home prices have already taken a significant hit, and while it may not be true that they have bottomed out I don't think there is another 30-50% to go as some have predicted. I do think some pockets may drop further yet than others (eg, condos, certain neighborhoods or towns, etc), and I believe prices may be flat for a while. The remaining hurricane season, insurance market, potential tax reform and even the November elections (national as well as local) will all affect the speed of recovery.

I have no crystal ball, and perhaps my read of the near-term future is all wet. It doesn't really matter for us, though, as we are buying for the long term - price and home features will suit us for the foreseeable future.
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Old 09-09-2007, 06:18 PM
 
960 posts, read 1,165,581 times
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Originally Posted by kdzgon View Post
I guess we might disagree on some definitions, such as an "average buyer". However, the home prices in your area did not run up so high because no one was buying. And, somehow I have to believe that people of nearly all income levels have been buying homes in the last 5 years. There is no question that foreclosures are up and now are even at record levels due to what was "easy (mtg) money", although there are more reasons than just the mtg industry fiasco. Florida has traditionally been a state with many transplanted homeowners from other states, but not all of them are retirees, either. Neither (nor both) fact(s) alone explain the run up in prices.

I would agree that families with a true total household income of $40,000 per year with less than stellar credit will find it difficult if not impossible to purchase a home in many areas of SW Fl for the immediate future without some sort of assistance (family help, special programs, low- to mid-income housing, etc). However, that has been the situation in my area for years, but the result has NOT been a drop in prices (in fact, the NE saw 6% gains even in the soft market.) Instead, certain incomes rent forever rather than purchase a home should they choose to remain in the area. Minimum wage in NJ was already increased to over $7; now, federal wages are slated to follow. The difference is, the home we purchased in Fl is approx one-half the cost of a comparable home in my area. Once that min wage kicks in in Fl, many Floridians will arguably be better off than NJ residents in similar entry-level occupations, but I'll bet home prices still don't drop in NJ.

We are mostly a society that wants what we want, when we want it. Many potential first-time home buyers grew up in a booming economy and had little to no experience with the concept of saving first, buying later, so the idea that they should start out small (and more affordable, should circumstances change) is not a core concept. That booming economy also resulted in some significant stock market gains for many an "average" person (as opposed to "wealthy"). Couple that with relatively easy money (when was the last time lenders routinely required 20% down, especially for a first-time buyer?) and you have a scenario where many a buyer was willing to sign on the dotted line for homes priced well above prices 2 - 2 1/2 times salary. If there are sufficient buyers willing to make that stretch, it pulls up market prices across the board. Once that happens, absent extreme extenuating circumstances (main employer shuts down, more widespread area-wide prolonged economic downturn, etc) prices rarely if ever return to prior levels.

Some of the hardest-hit areas in Florida have already seen an influx of commercial development. That tells me that much of the change is well on its way - development may slow, but so many large businesses are not investing on a whim. Home prices have already taken a significant hit, and while it may not be true that they have bottomed out I don't think there is another 30-50% to go as some have predicted. I do think some pockets may drop further yet than others (eg, condos, certain neighborhoods or towns, etc), and I believe prices may be flat for a while. The remaining hurricane season, insurance market, potential tax reform and even the November elections (national as well as local) will all affect the speed of recovery.

I have no crystal ball, and perhaps my read of the near-term future is all wet. It doesn't really matter for us, though, as we are buying for the long term - price and home features will suit us for the foreseeable future.
I agree with some of your points. However, things are a little bit different here then in New Jersey. For example, unlike NE or NJ in particular, $40K a year is considered a very decent income here. Teachers here make around $32K a year. Around the same income for firefighters, policemen, mechanics, etc. The issue in our area is not about minimum wage earners trying to buy a house. We all know that minimum wage earners don't even have enough money to eat everyday. But I'm thinking about the "middle class". Unless, I'm wrong and people now consider teachers, firefighters, policemen, and plumbers "low class". Do they?

As for who has been doing the buying in the housing market....I'm keeping data on a neighborhood that we are primarily interested in. The area is older homes built in the 1960-1970's 2bd/2ba 1000sf is the norm. A community that was a first time homebuyers "starter" neighborhood. To date, only 40% of the homes that sold this year are primary residences. 60% of the homes sold this year where sold to people who have addresses in the surrounding Sarasota and Manatee County, and who own multiple homes. Of these people, none of them are moving into these houses, instead they have them back on the market, or they have become rental properties. It's kind of sad for a neighborhood that did not have rental properties 5 years ago. We all know most rental properties are not maintained well by absentee landlords.

I'm not going to predict the future of this neighborhood, however I do still have hope for it to return to "normal" 3x income. The houses, unfortunately, are still priced outrageously. An example... for sale 2/2 1139sf no improvements $174,000 (sold in 2000 for $91,300).

I have hope that prices will fall in our area to "normal" levels, because there is nothing to sustain these artificially high prices. Our local employers have laid off enormous amounts of people. There are tons of commercial properties that sit empty and only occasionally is a retail space built. The big "developer" around our area, is proposing a hotel, which will only bring minimum wage jobs. So all in all, I don't think 30-50% less for a house is in anyway out of the realm of possibility.

Good luck to you in your search for a dream home.
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Old 09-10-2007, 12:01 PM
 
99 posts, read 364,934 times
Reputation: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbondated View Post
I agree with some of your points. However, things are a little bit different here then in New Jersey. For example, unlike NE or NJ in particular, $40K a year is considered a very decent income here. Teachers here make around $32K a year. Around the same income for firefighters, policemen, mechanics, etc. The issue in our area is not about minimum wage earners trying to buy a house. We all know that minimum wage earners don't even have enough money to eat everyday. But I'm thinking about the "middle class". Unless, I'm wrong and people now consider teachers, firefighters, policemen, and plumbers "low class". Do they?

As for who has been doing the buying in the housing market....I'm keeping data on a neighborhood that we are primarily interested in. The area is older homes built in the 1960-1970's 2bd/2ba 1000sf is the norm. A community that was a first time homebuyers "starter" neighborhood. To date, only 40% of the homes that sold this year are primary residences. 60% of the homes sold this year where sold to people who have addresses in the surrounding Sarasota and Manatee County, and who own multiple homes. Of these people, none of them are moving into these houses, instead they have them back on the market, or they have become rental properties. It's kind of sad for a neighborhood that did not have rental properties 5 years ago. We all know most rental properties are not maintained well by absentee landlords.

I'm not going to predict the future of this neighborhood, however I do still have hope for it to return to "normal" 3x income. The houses, unfortunately, are still priced outrageously. An example... for sale 2/2 1139sf no improvements $174,000 (sold in 2000 for $91,300).

I have hope that prices will fall in our area to "normal" levels, because there is nothing to sustain these artificially high prices. Our local employers have laid off enormous amounts of people. There are tons of commercial properties that sit empty and only occasionally is a retail space built. The big "developer" around our area, is proposing a hotel, which will only bring minimum wage jobs. So all in all, I don't think 30-50% less for a house is in anyway out of the realm of possibility.

Good luck to you in your search for a dream home.
First, I want to be clear: I am not referring to anyone as "low class" in any way, shape or form. My intent was not - and is not - to insult anyone.

It's been my experience that when minimum wages increase, so do other wages, yet many people remain priced out of certain markets (incl many here in NJ), not just minimum wage earners. There are many "middle class" earners that rent for decades, if not forever. The only way many have been able to become a homeowner has been with special programs, such as little to no down, graduated mtg payments, family assistance, etc. My son and DIL are caught in that very trap, as are my step-daughter and her SO. This is not a new situation - 20+ years ago (during a prolonged super-hot market in the NE), my sister & BIL received a gift from my parents to buy their home, my other sister and BIL bought a (PA) home from a family member that helped with the financing, and we borrowed from a friend to get in to our home. I have other family and friends that have done the same thing. None of us have lost value over the long term, none of the homes ever returned to anything near pre- run-up prices, and all of us own homes worth significantly more than the original purchase price.

DD was stationed in San Diego for 4 years, and I tried to get her to buy some property. She chose not to (boyfriend location issues, not RE related) - and housing prices have as much as quadrupled in the 6-7 years since she first arrived there. The San Diego market is correcting, but I guarantee you won't see $60,000 condos ~8-10 miles from the beach in a suburban neighborhood! I would venture a guess that much of the real estate there (even after corrections) are no longer within reach of the average USMC corporal, but I'm pretty sure there will still be a steady stream of buyers.

It's my opinion that the same thing will happen in Florida. People will stretch, more families will have two (or more) incomes, people will cut back on other expenses (eat out less, keep a car longer, cheaper and/or less vacations, etc) and yes, there might even be some minimal upward pressure on salaries (especially gov't based ones). $80,000 in income (two $40K wage earners) can buy that $174,000 house, and still be well below your 3X salary benchmark. Florida has some rare if not unique qualities that will continue to draw new residents. Unfortunately for long-time Floridians, many will be coming from areas with housing that makes the "new" prices in Florida seem downright affordable, even if they are no longer a "bargain". (I will agree that many new home buyers are rather clueless re: the "real" costs of ownership, but pointing out the realities will not be enough to deter them!) Again, I might be wrong, but short of during the 1930s Depression I have yet to find an example of widespread prices falling 30-50% in desirable neighborhoods anywhere in the US. I might be totally clueless and there are indeed numerous examples somewhere, but I couldn't find them. Certain market "pockets" experience such swings (in the past, condos and town homes notoriously so), for sure. Another bad hurricane season or two will likely hurt prices, too, but not forever. I still say people "want what they want", and Florida has a lot of what many people want.
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:23 PM
 
Location: downtown Sarasota
4,542 posts, read 11,396,599 times
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Originally Posted by Carbondated View Post
This is the headline from todays Sarasota Herald Tribune.
Anyone else find this the least bit disturbing?

Huge home deal carries huge 'if'

"Vultures have been circling over the slumping Southwest Florida real estate market for a while, but few have descended to snatch properties from increasingly desperate builders and developers -- until now.

Documents obtained by the Herald-Tribune show that Joseph L. Long, a little-known, New Jersey-based real estate investor, is negotiating with about 60 area developers and builders to buy 1,500 homes and condos at a 30 percent discount to their current list prices.

If Long, who has never done anything of this magnitude before, is successful in lining up the $700 million needed to pull off the deal -- a very big if -- it could have market-shaking consequences.

For struggling developers and builders, Long's proposal would relieve them of the financial burden of holding properties in a difficult market.

For banks, Long's deal would help them avoid repossessing properties and filling their balance sheets with unwanted, non-performing assets.

In turn, about 5 percent of the unsold inventory in Sarasota and Manatee counties would be temporarily lifted from the market.

The deal might also encourage other vulture investors, which could speed a real estate market recovery."



It is really sickening when a community newspaper looks to an opportunist as a saviour, who will willfully feed into keeping housing prices out of the local populations reach.

Don't believe everything you read....
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Old 09-10-2007, 01:35 PM
 
13,864 posts, read 27,213,379 times
Reputation: 15020
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Originally Posted by kdzgon View Post
First, I want to be clear: I am not referring to anyone as "low class" in any way, shape or form. My intent was not - and is not - to insult anyone.

It's been my experience that when minimum wages increase, so do other wages, yet many people remain priced out of certain markets (incl many here in NJ), not just minimum wage earners. There are many "middle class" earners that rent for decades, if not forever. The only way many have been able to become a homeowner has been with special programs, such as little to no down, graduated mtg payments, family assistance, etc. My son and DIL are caught in that very trap, as are my step-daughter and her SO. This is not a new situation - 20+ years ago (during a prolonged super-hot market in the NE), my sister & BIL received a gift from my parents to buy their home, my other sister and BIL bought a (PA) home from a family member that helped with the financing, and we borrowed from a friend to get in to our home. I have other family and friends that have done the same thing. None of us have lost value over the long term, none of the homes ever returned to anything near pre- run-up prices, and all of us own homes worth significantly more than the original purchase price.

DD was stationed in San Diego for 4 years, and I tried to get her to buy some property. She chose not to (boyfriend location issues, not RE related) - and housing prices have as much as quadrupled in the 6-7 years since she first arrived there. The San Diego market is correcting, but I guarantee you won't see $60,000 condos ~8-10 miles from the beach in a suburban neighborhood! I would venture a guess that much of the real estate there (even after corrections) are no longer within reach of the average USMC corporal, but I'm pretty sure there will still be a steady stream of buyers.

It's my opinion that the same thing will happen in Florida. People will stretch, more families will have two (or more) incomes, people will cut back on other expenses (eat out less, keep a car longer, cheaper and/or less vacations, etc) and yes, there might even be some minimal upward pressure on salaries (especially gov't based ones). $80,000 in income (two $40K wage earners) can buy that $174,000 house, and still be well below your 3X salary benchmark. Florida has some rare if not unique qualities that will continue to draw new residents. Unfortunately for long-time Floridians, many will be coming from areas with housing that makes the "new" prices in Florida seem downright affordable, even if they are no longer a "bargain". (I will agree that many new home buyers are rather clueless re: the "real" costs of ownership, but pointing out the realities will not be enough to deter them!) Again, I might be wrong, but short of during the 1930s Depression I have yet to find an example of widespread prices falling 30-50% in desirable neighborhoods anywhere in the US. I might be totally clueless and there are indeed numerous examples somewhere, but I couldn't find them. Certain market "pockets" experience such swings (in the past, condos and town homes notoriously so), for sure. Another bad hurricane season or two will likely hurt prices, too, but not forever. I still say people "want what they want", and Florida has a lot of what many people want.
I totally agree with your post. As a native Floridian, I am now 58 years old, and have seen nothing but huge increases in property value my entire life here. Sure, it went a little crazier a couple years ago, and I do agree that in some areas it will correct a bit and actually has in a lot of areas already.

But no way do I think we are going back to values of 10 years ago or so, no matter what so many here think and hope. I know Florida is no California, however, Florida is still a huge bargain, even now compared to California and a lot of other areas where homes, taxes and general cost of living make this state look cheap. Add to this the fact that we have lots of people from Europe and elsewhere buying homes or vacation property - there are plenty of people who can afford it. There are plenty of long time RESIDENTS here who have owned homes and can just cash in and buy another with no problem. And plenty of people who buy within their means and income.

As you said in this post, it is usually the condos and townhomes that get hit the hardest, and also new developments. A good solid home in a desirable neighborhood will always be salable at a fair price. And while it's true that many areas of Florida have a lot of problems, especially in Orlando, Miami and SW Florida, there are many areas that are still virtual paradise; I live in one of them and many others here on these forums live in such an area as well. So Florida still has a lot to offer, and many people will still come here and consider it a bargain.

JMO, of course!
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